How to Tell if He’s Just Using You

It’s the absolute worst when you realize that you’re in a relationship where you’re giving much more than you’re receiving. In fact, you may even suspect that your guy is using you. Sex isn’t the only way he can use you — there are many other types of personal gains that a dude can achieve by making you a stepping stool (yeah, ew). Here’s how to know if he’s using you for whatever kind of gain — entertainment, free meals, whatever — and if he is, kick him to the curb. No ifs, ands or buts!

1. He disappears sporadically.


If he isn’t a constant in your life (i.e., he texts you for a week then drops off the face of the earth for the next two), you have reason to worry.

“He’s using you if he appears, then he disappears, then he reappears,” says Suzanne Oshima, matchmaker at Dream Bachelor & Bachelorette. “There's no consistency to seeing him, and you're never really quite sure how he feels about you.”

Maybe he takes you to dinner one night, and then he doesn’t respond to your Facebook messages for a week. Maybe you attend a party hand in hand, and then he suddenly goes MIA for the next three days. If this is the case, collegiettes, it’s more than likely you’re just convenient side entertainment or someone for him to look hot with, as harsh as it sounds (at least you’re hot!). You’re worth so much more than just being his cute arm candy.

2. He doesn’t follow through on his promises.

Promises, promises. If he’s a chronic promise-breaker, he’s probably not all too serious about you.

“When you're with him, he says all the right things and makes you feel amazing,” Oshima says. “He tells you he wants to do all these things for you and with you, but it never happens. If a man's actions don't match his words, then you shouldn't believe a word he's saying.”

Pretty straightforward, right? He swears he’ll take you on a hot date to the coolest restaurant in town. He pledges to bring you hiking, give you a ride on his motorcycle and take you to an amusement park. If he doesn’t follow up, he’s just using you for some side entertainment. Say, “See ya!” to that dud.

3. He only hangs out with you at night.

This dude only wants a fun romp in the sack if he’s messaging you only at ungodly hours of the night.

“He only calls or texts you late at night to see what you’re up to,” Oshima says. “Then, he always ends up coming over to sleep with you, and then you don’t hear from him until the next time.”

Gina*, a student at Le Moyne College, had an experience with this type of user — luckily, she bounced back.

“I once dated this guy who only texted me after midnight with the old, ‘Come over babe IMY,’” she says. “Sometimes I actually ended up coming over. Eventually I realized that normal guys miss you even before midnight.”

It’s as simple as this, collegiettes: Don’t let him take advantage of you! Keep in mind how special you and your body are. If you’re not looking for an FWB type of situation, then don’t give this dude the privilege of your body. He doesn’t deserve it!

4. He only wants to see you at your place or his place.


Uh-oh. Along the same lines as the previous one, this is a major red flag: He only wants to hang out in his or your bedroom.

“He’s using you if he never takes you out on a proper date, and he only calls you to ask to come

over or for you to come over to his apartment,” Oshima says.

Jill*, a student at Boston University, was romantically involved with someone who wasn’t interested in going out on dates. “I was with a guy that lived just down the street from me and would always want to just go to his house late at night,” she says.

It’s basic stuff: He thinks your bod is hot, but doesn’t want to take it any further. Don’t invest any more time or emotion into this man; he’s only interested in one thing (yep, you guessed it).

5. He tells you he doesn’t believe in labels.

And we’re not talking about labels regarding sexual orientation — we’re talking the “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” titles.

“What he really means by that is he's keeping his options open and doesn't want to be tied down to you,” Oshima says.

If he’s totally weird about calling you his girlfriend, even after months of nonstop dates, chances are that he’s seeing other people, too — and doesn’t want to stop seeing them. Drop him for a man who will happily call you his girlfriend (they’re out there, we swear!).

6. He always asks you to pay on dates.

Yes, this is the 21st century, but still — chivalry isn’t necessarily dead. While it’s one thing to split the bill here and there (and understandable, since college students aren’t usually the wealthiest citizens on the planet), if he’s always asking you to pay for the both of you, there’s a definite issue.

“He’s using you if he seems to always forget his wallet when going out to dinner,” says matchmaker, author and speaker Marla Martenson. “‘I'll pay you back,’ he says. Alas, you never see a dime.”

Yikes. He’s indubitably just looking for some free grub, and you are not responsible for providing it! Moochers not welcome — next, please.

7. He’s always asking you for a favor.

If he needs help with this or that constantly and doesn’t ever seem to return these favors, you know you’ve got a problem.

“He’s using you if he always seems to need a ride to the airport or someone to take care of his cat or pet cockatoo while he is out of town, and that someone is always you,” Martenson says.

If you’re 10 times more generous than he is (i.e., he never helps you out when you could use a hand), simply say no when he’s begging you for a calculus tutoring sesh, a ride or money for lunch. You’re not a path for him to walk all over.

Some guys are gentlemen; some guys are users. You’ll definitely want to stay away from the latter of the two. After all, you deserve only the former.